I take out my camera, screw on the telephoto lens, and start walking.
Letting go of thoughts or worries, I silently ask, “What is beautiful and interesting today?”
The answer to that question is what I photograph and write about here.
Great Horned Owl and Coopers Hawk It was daybreak. I couldn’t see where I was going through the tall rushes, just a wall of green in a big room of green that was the closed-in feeling of the marsh. The deer path led to a clearing where there was a stand of old willows. I climbed up into one of the trees to get a better view of the marsh. As I climbed, I heard a bird calling “cack, cack, cack, cack,” insistently in one of the trees nearby. I thought it was cack-ing a warning to all other animals of my presence in the marsh, as if my floundering through the high rushes wasn’t enough. Looking up to find my tattle-tale, I saw it was a Coopers Hawk.
Northern Oriole Northern Orioles (also known as Baltimore Orioles) had been sighted in parks around the city for a week or so and I had seen several. They are easily recognized orange-coloured black birds that whistle pure notes from the treetops. I had been trying for days to get a clear photo of one but, shooting at a distance from the ground up to their high perches, all of the photos taken had turned out blurry.
Adventures Of A Young Red-tail Hawk
A Red-tailed Hawk enjoying a serene moment; or so it would seem. Actually, this Hawk had just had “one of those days.” A Hawk has to eat. It’s an efficient hunter and it has its role in keeping rodent populations in check. But it’s funny and satisfying sometimes when the prey, in this case a cheeky grey squirrel, runs circles around its pursuer.
A Beaver Tale
I was taking some photos of a Great Egret in the shallows of a pond one evening when I heard rustling in the thicket behind me. I turned to see a big beaver dragging a tree out of the forest; a small conifer that might have been the perfect Christmas tree for a downtown condo.
Red Fox Den
“Have you seen her?” A fit, outdoorsy-looking woman, with a Nordic accent and lovely dark hair dyed red and tied back in a gauzy beige kerchief, had stopped her bike to ask me what I’d seen and told me about the fox who lived among these fields and ponds.
If you’ve already heard the first bird chirp in the morning twilight, and lying half-awake in bed you decide to catch the sunrise over Lake Ontario, then you’d better get moving; because if you have any kind of drive ahead of you to get there, even a short one as I do, then you’re already late.
Killdeer used to nest along our long gravel driveway to the farmhouse. Coming home from school in the afternoon, I would see the Killdeer, with their scurrying steps and bobbing heads, darting here and there in front of me as I walked in from the road. In spring, at nesting season, these birds would put on a clever display. As you approached, if there were a nest nearby, the parent Killdeer would hurry in front of you then fake an injury like a World Cup footballer trying to get a penalty kick.